While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, July 7

Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn talks to the media as rescue operations continue for 12 boys and their coach trapped at Tham Luang cave.
Chiang Rai Governor Narongsak Osottanakorn talks to the media as rescue operations continue for 12 boys and their coach trapped at Tham Luang cave.PHOTO: AFP

Thai cave boys 'not ready' to dive to freedom as rescuer perishes

The Thai boys trapped inside a flooded cave for two weeks are not yet ready to attempt a dangerous dive to freedom, rescuers said on Saturday, after the death of a military diver underscored the huge risks they face.

The diver’s death on Friday brought heartache for rescuers and anxious relatives waiting outside the Tham Luang cave in the country’s mountainous north – and raised serious doubts over the feasibility of attempting to bring a group of boys with no diving experience out through the cramped passageways filled with muddy water.

But rescue officials fear their options are running out given fresh monsoon rains are forecast for the coming days.

Thailand’s Navy Seal commander on Friday said rescuers may have little choice but to attempt the tricky extraction of the group, the first official admission that the 12 boys and their coach might not be able to wait out the monsoon underground.


Trump to avoid London protests with tour of English country homes

President Donald Trump would like a quick trade deal with Britain once Brexit is finished, the US ambassador to Britain said on Friday ahead of a presidential visit to London next week that will keep Trump largely away from planned mass protests.

Trump arrives in Britain on Thursday after a Nato summit in Belgium that could turn contentious over the US leader’s insistence that allies pay more for their defence and amid trade disputes between Washington and Europe.

US Ambassador to Britain Woody Johnson painted trade as a potential bright spot in the strong “special relationship” between Britain and the United States, which he said Trump intended to strengthen.


France's Macron to attend World Cup semi-final, despite British boycott

President Emmanuel Macron will attend France's World Cup semi-final in Russia, his office confirmed on Friday, as ally Britain pursues a diplomatic boycott of the tournament over a nerve agent attack.

Macron had promised to attend the match if France reached the semi-finals Tuesday in Saint Petersburg, and the confirmation came shortly after the team went through with an assured 2-0 win against Uruguay.

British officials are boycotting the tournament after blaming Moscow for the attempted assassination of former Russian spy Sergei Skripal in the streets of an English town in March.


World Cup: Belgium dump Brazil out of tournament after 2-1 win

Belgium struck early and held off a late Brazil fightback to send the five-times champions tumbling out of the World Cup with a 2-1 victory in an end-to-end thriller on Friday that earned them a semi-final against France.

A Fernandinho own goal and a brilliant Kevin De Bruyne strike gave Belgium a spot in the last four for the second time after 1986 and sent Brazil home at the quarter-final stage for the third time in the last four World Cups.

Brazil dominated possession and carved out chance after chance but, despite the best efforts of Neymar, were unable to find the net until substitute Renato Augusto headed home Philippe Coutinho’s cross 14 minutes from time.


Tennis: Ruthless Federer marches on with another straight-sets Wimbledon win

Top seed and defending champion Roger Federer advanced to the Wimbledon last 16 without dropping a set after a 6-3 7-5 6-2 win over German Jan-Lennard Struff on Friday.

Federer, seeking a record ninth Wimbledon title, eased through the first set before the big-serving Struff put up more of a fight in the second.

But Federer clinched it with a superb service game that included a wonderful volley at the end of a long rally followed by a winning drive down the line.